Picks and Pans Review: Hot Six

updated 07/24/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/24/2000 01:00AM

by Janet Evanovich

Beach book of the week

What's more daunting—subduing a naked, suds-covered homicidal maniac you just surprised in the shower, or paying a visit to your two-timing ex-husband with a humongous zit on your chin? Those are just two of the many hazards facing Trenton bounty hunter Stephanie Plum in the latest comic crime concoction from Evanovich (High Five). This time Plum sets out to help pal Ranger, a mysterious (and darn sexy) colleague who disappears after being suspected of killing a gunrunner's son. Soon she's contending not only with the thugs who are tailing her but also with a pair of involuntarily acquired houseguests: her fabulously feisty grandmother and a canine named Bob with the appetite of a vacuum cleaner. When will our harried heroine ever find time for a little restorative vice with her sometime boyfriend, vice cop Joe Morelli? (Maybe the next book will be called Lucky Seven.) Realism takes a backseat to humor in this series, but the snappy one-liners and oddball characters will have readers coming back for more. (St. Martin's, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Engaging mix of slapstick, steam and suspense

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